This week in FMCG

This week saw Australians panic buying household items over coronavirus fears. Read about the impact below and the other top headlines from this week.

Aussies panic buy over coronavirus fears

Australian supermarkets are seeing a surge in demand for certain products as coronavirus drives shoppers to stockpile items. Supermarkets reported toilet papers going out of stock and having low supply of hand wash, hand sanitiser, pasta, beans and rice. Many consumers took to social media to report panic buying in their area.

Unilever, Nestle pledge further action on plastics

FMCG giants Unilever and Nestle shared their ambitious 2025 plastics commitments at the National Plastics Summit in Canberra this week. Unilever said it aims to halve the use of virgin plastic, by cutting plastic packaging by over 100,000 tonnes and using more recycled plastic. Clive Stiff, CEO Unilever Australia & New Zealand said they want to “give Australians confidence that for each bottle of OMO, Dove, Surf, Toni & Guy or TRESemmé they buy”. While Nestlé and Australian recycler iQ Renew will trial collecting soft plastics via kerbside recycling to test as a resource in different manufacturing processes.

Allen’s unveiled Bites product with Big Banana stunt

Nestlé confectionery brand Allen’s covered Coffs Harbour’s legendary Big Banana in chocolate-like syrup for the launch of Allen’s Mini Chocolate Bananas. A stuntman climbed on top of the banana and poured 180-litres of the syrup over the 13-metre-long and 5-metre-high landmark. Allen’s said the stunt, which involved 18 people and 13 buckets of syrup, took 91 minutes to complete.

SPC wants to end union action as coronavirus puts pressure on production

SPC said that protected industrial action by union members at the Victorian SPC factory could leave customers ‘exposed’ amid coronavirus panic. Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) members are planning to take an hour off work to strike today and not work on the public holiday on Monday as they try to negotiate a pay deal with the factory’s new owners. SPC issued a warning saying at a time when consumers are panic buying non-perishable food due to the coronavirus, the AMWU action is “selfish and self-serving”.

Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $2.6m in damages over implants

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson was ordered by the Federal Court to pay out almost $2.6 million in damages to three women who received faulty pelvic mesh implants. In 2019, justice Anna Katzmann ruled that Johnson & Johnson and two subsidiaries were negligent over the defective vaginal implants that left hundreds of patients in debilitating pain. On Tuesday, they were ordered to pay damages and costs to the three lead applicants Ann Sanders, Kathryn Gill and Diane Dawson.

That’s it for this week. Inside FMCG will be back on Monday morning!

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